Glossary

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White blood cells are made in the bone marrow and protect the body against infection. If an infection develops, white blood cells attack and destroy the bacteria, virus, or other organism causing it.

White blood cells are bigger than red blood cells and normally are fewer in number. When a person has a bacterial infection, the number of white cells can increase dramatically.

The white blood cell count shows the number of white blood cells in a sample of blood. A normal white blood cell count is between 4,500 and 11,000 cells per cubic millimeter (4.5 and 11.0 x 109 cells per liter). The number of white blood cells is sometimes used to identify an infection or to monitor the body's response to treatment.

There are five types of white blood cells: lymphocytes, monocytes, neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils.

Last Revised: December 14, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology

White-coat (or office) hypertension refers to blood pressure that rises above its usual level when it is measured in a clinic setting, such as a doctor's office, where a nurse or doctor may be wearing a white lab coat.

White-coat hypertension is more common in people who have high blood pressure than it is in people who have normal blood pressure. It tends to decrease with repeat measurements.

Last Revised: April 5, 2011

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology